Saturday, June 3, 2017
Mourning and Comfort
Matt. 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
No one wants to think that mourning could be a positive thing and yet, Jesus makes it a part of his sermon on the mount. This mourning, however, is not the mourning of those who have lost a loved one, but of those who are willing to intercede. He is speaking of those whose hearts are so tender that they continually mourn over the sins of the world and the acts of the sinners. Those who are called to mourn the sins of others will discover a companionship with the Lord on high, and their own hearts will be comforted. Grief over the sins of others drives us to mourn and in return we discover the great comfort of God.
To be quite honest I was drawn to this passage because it’s been a week of loss and grief. It started with a funeral a week ago today, followed by news of the loss of a giant of the faith on Sunday. That evening a phone call regarding the health of a loved one was quite stunning, and then last evening the news of a dear saint who died at church while preparing the funeral dinner of a friend has sent me into a place of lament. Reading today’s scripture passages I was comforted by the words of our Savior. There are times that we will mourn the pain of this temporal life, and we are constantly reminded how fleeting it truly is. I am grateful for the comfort and joy that I find in Christ.
While my own mourning may have brought me to this verse, I’m glad that the early church Fathers brought me to a little different perspective, for they are the ones who challenged me to think about this as mourning over the sins of the world. We are to be willing to join with Jesus in suffering for the sins we see every day. When things happen around us that we simply do not understand, our hearts are to be broken, and we are to be driven to our knees as intercessors on behalf of those who have wandered from the path that God has prepared.
As Jesus preached to his followers on the mountain they did not understand what it was that he was saying. Most probably heard his words as I did — bringing with them their own personal pain. God does comfort those who mourn and struggle with the things that life brings their way. At the same time Jesus challenges us to a life of discipleship and holiness. Those who are participating in the holiness of God will mourn over what they see in the world. Their hearts will break and they will be drawn to their knees in prayer as they become intercessors on behalf of the pain and suffering in the world. Those who are willing to take on this mantle will discover the great comfort found in deep communion with God.
Mourning is actually a calling. Comfort is the promise.
Lord, break my heart for those around me and help me to be willing to intercede on their behalf. Amen.